BY OSA DIRECTOR
That the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), blooms in internecine strife and intractable war is no longer news.
The APC constitutes the greatest political opposition to itself. Several state chapters of the party are embroiled in regressive war of attrition culminating in factionalisation. The situation becomes worse in any of the states a governorship election is expected to hold.
It is, therefore, not surprising that Edo State, the home state of Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the APC until recently, is literarily in a state of war and anarchy.
Ondo State is tethering on a tinder box too. This is not to mention the near-irreversible wreckage done to the fortunes of the APC in states such as Zamfara, Rivers, Bayelsa, and in some others like Adamawa State.
If the truth must be told, the crises rocking the party are not unrelated to the infantile ideological posturing, and illusion of self-grandeur of the Chairman, Oshiomhole. The national chairman has remained the centre of gravity of APC since he assumed office, propelled by those who didn’t critically examine his pedigree beyond media blitz and glamour.
For starters, Oshiomhole is an overrated and overhyped media creation, a fact the writer has consistently harped on. Although, as a media practitioner I share part of the blame for the creation of the Oshiomhole phenomenon.
It, therefore, became apparently possible for the likes of Oshiomhole to masquerade as genuine leaders, if not messiah of the people due to our pervasive socio-cultural predisposition to poor and unsophisticated leadership.
Consequently, Nigeria has become a country where it takes little good to become a hero. Due to our hazy and woozy value system, too little good by those in position of public trust ignite heroism status. In short, things that are taken for granted in civilised and advanced democracies are celebrated as notable achievements here in our clime.
For instance, construction of roads is celebrated as a landmark achievement. But why is a governor elected by the citizens if not to provide adequate security for lives and property, thereby creating an enabling environment for all citizens to thrive?
Due to the lukewarm and uncritical assessment of the essence and nature of governance and development, Oshiomhole was able to prank most of Edo State indigenes, minus the writer who has been very critical of the political waywardness of the former labour unionist.
Populism through the application of his gift of the garb, laced with empty rhetoric and hollow rituals was an art of governance intensely utilised by the self-absorbed Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State.
He so captivated his innocent followers that they saw nothing wrong in whatever he did. Even when Oshiomhole constructed a seven-kilometer airport road, Benin City, Edo State for a whopping sum of N17 billion, thus making it one of the most expensive road on earth, his hangers on defended him with verve. Their argument was that Oshiomhole’s predecessors in office did not construct any road. How does the non-performance of his predecessors justify his predilection for thieving, lack of accountability and transparency?
Indeed, give it to the erstwhile Labour Leader, he has a legendary capacity for using sheer populism and sophistry to mask his shenanigans as a public officer. Oshiomhole has a public persona that is diametrically opposite to his real mannerisms and idiosyncrasies, to the extent that if he tells you good morning, it might well be past six in the evening!
However, because of his well-oiled media orchestrated saintly image, coupled with his bottomless resources accumulated over the years, it has become near impossible to rewrite his history and political trajectory correctly. In spite of that, a few Nigerians are still discerning and know whom he really is.
It is for this simple reason, the APC hierarchy needs to hearken to the voice and plea of those urging for a close and objective scrutiny of the character and leadership qualities of Oshiomhole! For the survival of the party, it is time to pause and ask, is Oshiomhole really fit and proper to lead a ruling party as APC? Where is APC headed with a man like Oshiomhole at the helms of affairs?
Can the APC afford to retain a man who was described by the immediate past national Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, as someone who talks before thinking? Giving the cultivated and cultured taciturnity of Oyegun, is that not a weighty statement worthy of examination and being taken seriously by the party’s top brass?
With the careless and callous statement by Oshiomhole that nobody will be sworn in as governor in Bayelsa State after the Supreme Court disqualified the APC’s deputy governorship candidate and by extension annulling the victory of APC at the governorship election, the riverine state was thrown into chaos. It would have been uncontrollable flow of tears, sorrow and blood if not for the timely intervention of security agencies. Can the destiny of APC be left in the hands of such a leader?
As a matter of speaking, leaving the destiny of APC in the hands of a loose cannon like Oshiomhole is tantamount to driving a trailer without brakes on a trunk A4 road. Therefore, the recent verdict of an Abuja High Court in Jabi by Justice Danlami Senchi that Oshiomhole should be suspended as national chairman of APC pending the determination of the substantive suit is a face-saving grace for the APC, and a window to reinvent itself if it wants to survive during and post-President Muhammadu Buhari era.
Indeed, reading through the seminal and insightful opinion piece by the former national legal adviser of APC, learned silk Muiz Banire, the erstwhile Labour Leader should not be allowed to spend a second longer in office. The survival of APC can only be guaranteed if only it has the courage to move in an opposite direction to Oshiomhole. The time is now!
Osa Director, a journalist and lawyer, lives in Lagos.